The importance of identifying your respective body type is not a new phenomenon in the fitness industry, but it’s something which individuals often overlook or fail to utilise the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses associated with their body type. Identifying your body type is a vital step in helping to achieve your fitness goals. Genetics play a large role in an individual’s abilities to burn or put on fat, build muscle and lift weights.
The key body types are:
- Ectomorph – Thin build and long limbs (Low natural body fat)
- Endomorph – Wide joints, shorter limbs (High natural body fat)
- Mesomorph – In between the two, with typically lower body fat than an Endomorph but a greater ability to build muscle than an ectomorph. (Medium natural body fat)
From these three body types, it’s easy to identify that an Ectomorph generally will retain a more defined appearance but will struggle to develop size and strength. Alternatively, a endomorph will find it easier to build general size and strength but is likely to find it more challenging to develop a lean appearance.
Although these body types will impact your ability to build muscle and burn fat this does not mean that if you are an endomorph you cannot have a low body fat percentage, and if you are an ectomorph you cannot develop large amounts of muscle.
The key is to identify your body type early, this can be done using various online tests or less accurately by analysing your physical attributes during the early stage of training, and then adjust your training and diet accordingly.
I began training casually at the age of 17, at a height of 186.5cm and just 66kg, and after 18 months training I had put on about 8kg (first picture). This was noticeable but I still found myself looking small in t-shirts and becoming envious of friends who had developed much more muscle and strength over a shorter period of time.
After this period I considerably altered my diet in order to dramatically increase my calorie intake and alter the calories which I was consuming in order to provide a constant level of nutrition throughout the day in order to maximise the effect of the work I was putting in the gym.
Over the past three years I have tried to ensure that I eat 4,500 calories a day for 9 months of the year and then 3,000 calories for May, June and August in what is a moderate cut (since my body type, nutrition and work in the gym ensures that I stay below 10% bf all year round). This works for myself as an ectomorph but for someone who is an endomorph it might be more advisable to carry out a longer cut and reduce the calories by around 500 during each period.
I must stress that I follow a policy of low GI foods and high protein diets, during my bulk periods I simply eat more complex carbs and take weight gain shakes instead of diet shakes, a bulk does not mean that you can eat whatever you want in order to reach your calorie goals.
The general view in the industry is that your body is sculpted in the kitchen and not in the gym, in order for this to be accurate it’s important to understand your body type so that you can ensure that your nutrition is in line with your body type.
The point of this article is to raise awareness and help individuals to understand that your body is unique and although the three body types, outlined above, provide a useful reference point your body is unique. In order to achieve your potential it’s vital to tailor your training and nutrition in line with your body.
These pictures illustrate me after 18 months of training and my most recent picture. This transformation has been very hard work and has taken three years, I have put on 13kg during this period and lost approximately 3% BF. With dedication to both training and nutrition and the assistance of top quality supplements these results are more than attainable.